For amateur beach volleyball stars Bernadeth Pons and Cherry Rondina, being part of the 2016 Philippine Superliga Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup this year is meaningful.
The tournament does not only give them even more exposure but also allows them to have an opportunity to learn from more experienced players in the discipline.
“Iniisip ko lang, I look forward sa challenge na ito. Experience, exposure din. Kasi second year pa lang ako. Sobrang blessed kasi nabigyan ako ng opportunity dito sa Foton. Naniniwala sila sa kakayahan ko,” Rondina said.
Rondina teamed up with beach volleyball veteran Patty Orendain as the Foton duo won its opener last Saturday against Accel Quantum Plus, 21-4, 21-7.
Rondina’s partner Orendain herself was already impressed by the quality of play Rondina showed on opening day.
“Sobrang galing talaga niya. Minsan na-i-intimidate ako pero hindi ko na lang iniisip. Mabait talaga siya and patient sa loob ng court,” Orendain said of her new partner.
The team-up offered a new look for Orendain, who had been used to playing alongside Fiola Ceballos for many years. Orendain added Rondina is even the one who leads the team, and both just enjoy the opportunity.
“Konti lang naman ina-adjust namin. Siya naman, sobrang experienced na. Ako rin. Sobrang mature niya sa loob ng court. Sinasabi ko nga sa kaniya, dalhin mo ko ha,” Orendain said. “Sinasabi ko, ikaw na maglead ha. Cine-claim naman niya. Siya nagdadala sa amin. Okay teamwork namin.”
“Ako, kung ano man binibigay na opportunity sa akin, gina-grab ko naman,” Rondina added. “Nag-e-enjoy naman ako sa beach volleyball.”
Pons also impressed on opening day, as she and Kyle Atienza of FEU scored a 21-14, 21-12 win over Meralco before pushing RC Cola-Army A to the limit despite losing in three sets, 19-21, 21-16, 15-13.
Pons shared prior to their match against Army’s Jovelyn Gonzaga and Nene Bautista that they intend to learn new things even if they don’t end up winning.
“Excited kami na makalaban yung mga legends sa beach volleyball. Syempre, ine-aim namin na every game, matuto kami sa kanila dahil lamang sila sa experience,” Pons said.
At 1-1, the FEU tandem has a good shot at advancing to the next round. But win or lose, what’s more important for Pons is to continue adding experience across her beach volleyball resume.
“Every game naman, gusto namin manalo pero before noon, kailangan namin gawin ang best namin and pag-aralan ang kalaban, focus lang every game. Pero ang importante sa amin, manalo o matalo, basta every game may natutunan kami sa kalaban,” Pons said.